Tag Archives: The Beatles

November Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Nov

NOVEMBER’S STRAIGHT TALK

1.Turkeys.nov2018.2-use

Let’s talk turkey. Because it is a native bird with a proud demeanor and protective instincts, the wild turkey was Benjamin Franklin’s preference for the national bird. He considered the bald eagle less honorable because it can be a scavenger and robs other birds and animals for prey … Adult male turkeys are called toms and females are called hens. Baby ones are poults and teenagers are jakes and jennies. Only the males gobble, which they do in the spring to announce their presence to females. A group of turkeys is called a rafter or a flock. The wild turkey’s bald head and fleshy facial wattles change color in seconds with excitement or emotion. Their heads can be red, pink, white, or blue. The flap of skin that hangs down over a turkey’s bill is called a snood, and can also change color, size, and shape based on their moods.

 

IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY

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Fifty years ago, November 1968, The Beatles released their White Album. And what a trip it was! It starts with the rush of a screaming jet in Paul McCartney’s exuberant vocals on Back In The U.S.S.R. Then Dear Prudence from John Lennon beckoning us to “look around.” And most beautiful of all is the timeless spiritual wisdom of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, “…with every mistake we must surely be learning.” And then there’s Ringo Starr’s Don’t Pass Me By, which was his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. Most of the songs were written during a Transcendental Meditation course in India.

 

LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING

3.SilverLinings.playbook.nov2018

The silver lining is a sign of hope. It’s the optimistic and consoling part of what might otherwise be a gloomy or difficult situation. It’s finding the good in rough times. The expression can be traced back to 1634 in a line from John Milton about a dark cloud that reveals a silver lining or halo of bright sun behind the gloom. The idea became part of the culture, giving us the proverb every cloud has a silver lining. The often quoted lines from Milton’s Comus, are where the silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.

Was I deceived? Or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

So our takeaway? Let’s remind ourselves to be optimistic. Keep the faith and think positive! Even difficult times will lead to better days.

 

PECANS DRIVE US NUTS!

4.PecanPie.nov2018

My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pecan pie. As I write this, I am pronouncing it pee-CAN. But many say puh-KAHN. What determines our pronunciation of pecan? Is it geography or race or gender or education? Kathleen Purvis, author of the Pecans cookbook, says that regional (separated by the Mason-Dixon Line) is just flat out wrong. “I’ve listened to people from all over. And in my experience, it isn’t North versus South.” … Actually, linguists say it is city vs. rural. Josh Katz, who wrote Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk, and studies dialects, says that urban-rural is a big part of a lot of dialect variation, especially in pronunciation …  The word pecan originates from the Algonquin Indian word “pakan,” which meant a nut so hard that it had to be cracked with a stone … Wait! There’s more. Then there are folks who say PEE-cans but pronounce pecan pie the other way. That means for some it takes PEE-cans to make puh-KAHN pie. Oy.

Since mouths may be watering by now, here’s a classic pecan pie recipe. Ingredients: 1 cup light or dark corn syrup, 3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 6 ounces coarsely chopped pecans. And 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust. Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan. In a bowl, gently beat eggs. Stir in sugar, then the syrup, butter, and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; knife inserted in center of pie should come out clean. Enjoy!

 

DOG NEWS

5.DogNews.TheFriend.nov2018

On November 14, the National Book Award for fiction was awarded to The Friend. A novel by Sigrid Nunez about a woman whose lifelong best friend dies and finds herself with the unwanted dog he left behind. They are both suffering. She lost her friend, and Apollo, the Great Dane, is traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of his master. On top of that they face being evicted because dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog, The Friend is a life-affirming story about finding solace in each other.

 

ENDNOTE: J. R. ACKERLEY

6.EndNote.Ackerley.nov2018

“A dog has one aim in life… to bestow his heart.”

 

WE CAN HELP

CREEK FIRE, SYLMAR CA.

As wildfires raged in different parts of California, residents were forced to evacuate, some without getting the chance to go home and take their animals. Displaced pets, stray animals, and wildlife caught in fire zones are in danger. Thousands, including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks, and a tortoise, have been saved. The North Valley Animal Disaster Group, a nonprofit, is caring for about 1,400 animals across its shelters. They are providing temporary sheltering, evacuation, medical care, reuniting animals with their owners, and adopting into permanent homes. We can make a donation to help them help these animals.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

8.Soundtrack.AlicesRestaurant.nov2018

Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant

This 18-minute ballad is the unofficial but really official Thanksgiving Day anthem. And I feel it’s our duty to listen to it every year on Thanksgiving … “Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, two years ago, on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant.”

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant

 

Who rescued whom?9.KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

 

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
12.KEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Silver lining: Online Etymology Dictionary ©2010 Douglas Harper
Dog News Great Dane pic: The Bark
We Can Help pic: Gene Blevins for the Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG
EndNote pic: Book cover The Life of J.R. Ackerley by Peter Parker (Farrar Straus Giroux 1989)

November 28, 2018
All Rights Reserved

May Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 May

FOR THE LOVE OF MAY

1.IndianaLOVE.may2018

The beloved artist of LOVE, Robert Indiana (who changed his name from Robert Clark in honor of his home state), died this month on May 19. Originally a Christmas card that was commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art in 1965, his LOVE painting became the embodiment of peace and love of the ‘60s. He turned it into the famous sculpture that is erected in cities all over the world. It even became a U.S. postage stamp issued for Valentine’s Day 1973 … The design was his interpretation of the phrase “God is love” that he heard as a young boy raised as a Christian Scientist. The red and green of his first LOVE version were the colors from the Philips 66 gas sign, in memory of the company where his father worked. In the early 1960s, as a reminder of his mother, he created works with HUG, her word for affection.

 

THE FIFTH OF MAY

2.Margarita.LineEmUp.may2018

Line ’em up! Here’s to the merry month of May, a personal favorite. And of course the perfect toast is a Margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! The holiday recognizes the victory of the Mexican army over the French army on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla.

 

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE

3.Jackie.may2018

Jacqueline Bouvier always got right back on her horse after she fell. Figuratively and literally, as a child she toppled from her horse on her first day at riding camp. She was bookish and aimed for a career after college. In fact, she ranked being a journalist over landing a man. Until, of course, she met John F. Kennedy. When he became president, Jackie brought progressive ideas about art and culture to the White House. Intelligent and charming, she won over foreign dignitaries … After JFK’s assassination, she displayed unforgettable dignity and the “steel under all that beauty and style,” the steel that was always there. And oh yes, Jackie got right back on that horse, moved her children to NYC, helped save Grand Central Terminal from demolition, and became a revered book editor … Just Being Jackie, a Young Adult book by Margaret Cardillo with illustrations by Julia Denos, is great for anyone at any age as a reminder of this icon’s cool strength and backbone.

 

TRUTH

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“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth…[in a] democratic society, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself…In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation.” (President John F. Kennedy)

It was at JFK’s inauguration in 1961 that Robert Frost became the first inaugural poet, delivering an ode to the dream of including the arts in government which touched JFK deeply. Frost died two years later in January 1963. That fall, JFK spoke at an event honoring the poet at Amherst College. His speech mirrored Frost’s about the arts and celebrating the role of the artist in society.

 

THE DARCY DEFENSE

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Would you be surprised to learn that many judges cite Jane Austen quotes in court? It is as an authority on relationships that her influence prevails in the courtroom. Although Harper Lee and Mary Shelley also show up in legal decisions, each is quoted from one work (Mockingbird and Frankenstein). On the other hand, quotes and references are taken from all of Austen’s many books such as Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and, of course, Pride and Prejudice. As well as from Jane Austen herself … In a fraud case involving friends who formed a partnership that went really bad, the judge cited Emma: “business…may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does,” and concluded that had the litigant “been mindful of the words of Jane Austen,” he would not have gotten himself involved in the lawsuit … In a gender discrimination case where a female plaintiff alleged her managers “did not tolerate intelligent and articulate female subordinates,” the judge quoted Northanger Abbey: “A woman especially, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” Doing so, the judge used Austen’s satire to shine a spotlight on what the civil rights law at stake aimed to end … And to emphasize that “looks can be deceiving,” the judge wrote in a legal malpractice case: “…one must get the whole story in order to have an accurate picture of events. The seemingly haughty and prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned out to be a pretty nice guy by the end of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”

 

AND THEY’RE OFF!

6.HorseRacing.may2018

In May there’s also the Kentucky Derby. So here are some common phrases you might not know come from horse racing! … Hands down: To win something hands down means to win it easily. It comes from the practice of horse racing jockeys loosening the reins when it seemed certain that they would win … Give-and-take: The art of compromise or a lively exchange of ideas originally referred to horse races in which bigger horses were given more weight to carry, lighter ones less … Dark horse: In addition to meaning lacking light, dark also means concealed, secret, or mysterious. So a dark horse is a horse about whose racing powers little is known. And in politics, a dark horse candidate is one who unexpectedly comes up from behind … Front runner: The leading candidate in a contest or election and comes from the horse racing term referring to a horse that runs best while in the lead … Running mate: Another political term that we get from horse racing refers to a candidate for the lesser of two associated political offices such as a vice-presidential candidate is the running mate of a potential president. In horse racing, a running mate is a horse that sets the pace for another.

 

MEMORIAL DAY

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“On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live.” (Eric Burdon, musician)

 

DOG NEWS

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Alexandra Horowitz, the author of Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell, explains how dogs perceive the world through their extraordinary organ. What every dog knows about the world comes mostly through his nose. Every breath of air a dog takes is loaded with information.

How can we tap into our dogs’ world of smell and enrich their lives? “Let them smell. If you live with a dog, start thinking about what the world is like from an olfactory point of view. Let them smell you (you are your scent, to your dog), let them smell each other (that’s how they find out who it is), and let them smell the world. Take walks for smelling (not just for peeing, or for exercise). The pleasure that comes from watching a dog snuffling down a path, nose to the ground and nose in the air, guided by nothing more than the filaments of odors that come his way, is to me unmatched.”

 

ENDNOTE: PHILIP ROTH
(March 19, 1933-May 22, 2018)

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“The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.” (The Dying Animal by Philip Roth)

 

WE CAN HELP

10.WeCanHelp.AliCenter.may2018

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, used his greatness as a catalyst to do great things for the world and, in turn, inspire us to do the same. The Muhammad Ali Center promotes respect, hope, understanding, and love, encouraging everyone everywhere to be as great as they can be. Your donation will help them continue to preserve and share Ali’s legacy and values.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

11.Soundtrack.AllYouNeedIsLove.may2018

The Beatles
All You Need Is Love 

Love fills May’s fair spring air. At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, people all over the world saw the blossoming of love. Robert Indiana’s sculptures and paintings remind us of the endurance of love … John Lennon’s All You Need is Love was written for Our World, the world’s first ever worldwide televised satellite link-up broadcast to 25 countries. Its optimistic message captured the mood of the Summer of Love (1967), and its simple lyrics and disarming chorus perfect for a global audience. 

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy
All you need is love, all you need is love
All you need is love, love, love is all you need

 

 

Who rescued whom?
10.KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l12.KEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Jane Austen pic quote: Emma: A Novel, Jane Austen (1867)
Jane Austen references: Matthew H. Birkhold, Electric Literature
Dog News quote: Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz (Scribner October 2016)
Philip Roth pic: Philip Roth
Soundtrack lyrics: John Lennon/Paul McCartney ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC 

May 28, 2018
All Rights Reserved

September Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

27 Sep

SEPTEMBER FULL OF HOPE

helloseptember-sept2016“The breezes taste of apple peel. The air is full of smells to feel. Ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush, new books, erasers, chalk, and such. The bee, his hive, well-honeyed hum, and Mother cuts chrysanthemums. Like plates washed clean with suds, the days are polished with a morning haze.” (John Updike, September)

HOPE EVERLASTING

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“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” James Baldwin said to Margaret Mead in a historic public conversation in New York City, August 25, 1970 … The twin beams of light emitted each September 11, as transcendental as any symbol of remembrance can ever be, depicts the timeless hope of which James Baldwin speaks.

ROCK STAR!

freddiemercuryasteroid-sept2016-2-use“A shooting star leaping through the sky, Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity…Burnin’ through the sky yeah” … An asteroid has been named after Freddie Mercury to honor what would have been his 70th birthday. Asteroid “Freddiemercury” is “burnin’ through the sky” in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Per Brian May, Queen’s lead guitarist as well as an astrophysicist, “It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.”

BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

pancakesinparis-sept2016
Former Hollywood screenwriter Craig Carlson, with no restaurant experience, recounts his dream of opening an American diner in Paris, Breakfast in America, and turning it into a popular restaurant chain in the heart of Paris.

“After a year in France, I was dying for a good ol’ American breakfast. [Back in LA] I ordered a ham steak, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, and buckwheat pancakes. I stared at it wide-eyed and said, ‘Oh my God, this is the one thing I missed when I was in Paris!’ At that instant a year’s worth of eating French breakfasts replayed before my eyes. But the problem was that every breakfast was exactly the same. Croissants and pains au chocolat, croissants and pains au chocolat. I stared down at my pancakes…my heart racing as I repeated the phrase: ‘The one thing I missed in Paris’…I knew exactly what I wanted to do: open an American diner in Paris! I even knew what I was going to call it: Breakfast in America.”

KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S GATE?

dylangate-sept2016Did you know that Bob Dylan liked to sculpt enormous iron gates? Yes, it’s true. After all, he was born and raised in iron ore country in Minnesota. He just built a 26×15-foot iron gateway for the MGM National Harbor casino in Maryland. Called Portal, it incorporates found objects, farm equipment, kitchen utensils, and tools … Per Dylan: “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.” Whoa, that is so Dylan.

WHEN BAD ADVERTISING HAPPENS TO THE ARTS

wellsfargo-nea-sept2016Here’s a real head-scratcher. Seems that the Wells Fargo financial services company thought this was a good idea. Picture this. A smiling young woman with the caption: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.” And the tag line: “Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.” Although they were taken to task for this tasteless ad campaign that they subsequently abandoned, how was it ever approved? The arts and those who choose to be artists are to be cherished, enjoyed, and encouraged. Hey, Wells Fargo, learn something about the arts from the National Endowment for the Arts and put aside some ad dollars for a donation. It’s the arts that fulfill promises and make life grand.

FULL OF AWE

awesome-sept2016-newsWords enable us to communicate with each other. What powerful tools they are! But changes in language and in people, including interpretation, people adapting language to fit their needs, societal changes, and shifting pronunciations, affect the meaning of a word over time. Let’s look at the evolution of the word awful: In Shakespeare’s time awful had the complimentary meaning of “full of awe.With the suffix –ful, awful means having the quality of awe. Its meanings include being worthy of, commanding profound respect or reverential fear, which may have led it to mean causing dread. So over the centuries, awful took on a negative quality – frightful, ugly, monstrous. Then awful was eventually replaced with today’s positive awesome. Note that the suffix -some is basically the same as –ful in its meaning. Since awful had such a strong negative connotation, awesome was used meaning “awe-inspiring” without the negativity. By the mid-1900s awesome went from awe-inspiring to its ubiquitous use today meaning amazing. Okay, so awesome may have reached its cultural saturation point, but its history is nonetheless awesome, right?

TRIUMPHANT NEW MUSEUM!

blackmuseum-baldwinquote-crA new major museum is always worth celebrating! Just opened is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in the heart of Washington DC. Its very design is crucial to the story it tells. From its lowest floor depicting the history of slavery, each ascending floor follows the journey to the civil rights movement and up to “A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond” and President Obama’s inauguration.

…AND THE BEATLES’ CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY

eightdaysaweek-sept2016In the new documentary, Eight Days a Week, director Ron Howard examines the Beatles’ touring years. Of note, we learn that in 1964 when they reached the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL, seats were segregated. They refused to perform until the venue was integrated, gaining a victory for civil rights. “We played to people. We didn’t play to those people or that people – we just played to people,” so said Ringo.

ROCK RELICS DO GOOD!

maxskcauction-bruce-sept2016Cool pic of The Boss, right? Unless you’ve read Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin’s High On Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max’s Kansas City (see May 2016 Newsletter), you’ve never seen it. Taken upstairs at Max’s Kansas City backstage by Lily Hou in 1973, it was one of many great items up for auction to benefit Yvonne’s arts non-profit, Max’s Kansas City Project, which provides artists grants of emergency relief for housing, medical, and legal aid.

DOG NEWS

dognews-911dogs-sept2016Barkley’s incredible veterinarian Dr. Amy Attas (as well as Buddha’s and Skeffington’s!) volunteered to care for the heroic rescue dogs at ground zero. Dr. Attas and her colleagues listened to the handlers while their dogs were being treated for cuts, burns, and dehydration, prompting the vets to ask psychologists to sit with them. “A lot of the handlers told us that their dogs were really depressed, because they were search and rescue dogs and they weren’t finding anybody,” Dr. Attas told NBC News.

WE CAN HELP

9-11stairs-sept2016The Vesey Street stairs, on site at the 911 Memorial Museum and now known as Survivors’ Stairway, is the sole remainder above ground of the World Trade Center. Gazing at it, one visualizes all those people running down them seeking safety and escape with fervent hope that they make it out. The 9/11 Memorial Museum documents the impact of 9/11 and explores its continuing significance. There we bear witness to a collection of artifacts that remind us of the people we lost and the brave souls that heroically went in to help, to save, to do their job. It is a place of commemoration.  Make a monetary donation or you can make a contribution to the collection such as pics, videos, voice messages, personal effects, workplace objects, and diaries.

wecanhelp2-doghope-aacr-sept-2016Fact: Animals have a positive effect in helping people cope with traumatic events. HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response teams have been responding to crises and disasters since 2001, when they sent specially trained handlers and their dogs to provide comfort at ground zero in NYC. They calmed survivors and helped first responders and other workers relax and talk about their experiences, just as you see Tikva here at work. HOPE has since responded to major hurricanes, wildfires, train derailments, and school shootings. An all-volunteer organization, your donation helps them continue training and certifying new crisis teams.

Soundtrack to this Issuesoundtrack-highhopes-teleBruce Springsteen’s High Hopes

Happy Birthday to the Boss. And what a way to celebrate. Four hour concerts! A book! A book tour! A new album! … Along with his captivating, candid, and poignant memoir, Born to Run, is a compilation album Chapter and Verse which features 18 songs that reflect the themes and sections of the book and includes five unreleased songs … High hopes is surely what we are feeling, so here’s the title track from the High Hopes album:

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don’t you know these days you pay for everything 

Got high hopes
I got high hopes
Got high hopes
I got high hopes

Who rescued whom?
Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016
At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
James Baldwin quote: A Rap on Race (J. B. Lippincott; 1st edition, 1971)
Freddy Mercury lyrics: Don’t Stop Me Now by Freddie Mercury ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Brian May quote: The Guardian, September 5, 2016
Book quote: Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson Page 42 ©2016 Sourcebooks
Dylan’s gate pic and quote: Forbes, September 7, 2016
Dr. Amy Attas, DVM quote: NBC News/New York, September 11, 2016
Tikva at Ground Zero, NYC, 2001 pic: HOPEaacr.org
Soundtrack High Hopes lyrics: Timothy Scott McConnell ©Universal Music Publishing Group

August Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Aug

HOT DOG DAYS OF AUGUST

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How hot is it? Real Feel: 118 degrees – wow! … This has been one hot summer for most everyone everywhere. Hope you (and your dogs) are keeping cool wherever you are … Prediction: There will be snow soon enough!

 

THE BOSS TELLS HIS STORY

BruceBornToRunBook.aug2016

 

 

“I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I. By 20, no race-car-driving rebel, I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park … But I held four clean aces. I had youth, almost a decade of hard-core bar band experience, a good group of homegrown musicians who were attuned to my performance style and a story to tell.” … From the forward to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, to be released in September.

 

SO HOW’D YA WRITE THAT SONG?

RobertPlant.aug2016

 

Many were mollified at the unquestionably correct verdict that, no, Led Zeppelin did not steal a lesser known band’s music for their not derived, resplendent, iconic Stairway to Heaven Robert Plant testified in court on the song’s origins: “…I sat with Jimmy by the fire, and he began playing. And I had this little couplet lyrically that, if you like, in tempo, fitted into what he was playing. So I just started developing that into two lines, then four lines, and then on, slowly, opening it up…‘There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven. And when she gets there she knows that the stores are all closed; with a word she can get what she came for.’…I was really trying to bring in that aspect of Welsh, the beauty and the remoteness of the pastoral Britain…Meanwhile, the guys were working on opening up the song and its transition into something that was really flowering and it was quite a thing as we moved on through the song, to open it up and to turn around various parts of it and see it develop into something I couldn’t even imagine.” … Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that’s how they wrote that song.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’!

Tchaikovsky.aug2016

 

 

The Nutcracker. Swan Lake. 1812 Overture. The celebrated Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) believed that one must keep working and working, just keep at it, and inspiration will happen … “We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination” … Two centuries later, producer, songwriter, and lead singer and guitarist of The White Stripes, Jack White echoes Tchaikovsky’s ideal … “Inspiration and work ethic — they ride right next to each other…Not every day you’re gonna wake up and the clouds are gonna part and rays from heaven are gonna come down and you’re gonna write a song from it. Sometimes, you just get in there and just force yourself to work, and maybe something good will come out.”

 

PEPSI-COLA HITS THE SPOT

PepsiColaSign.aug2016.day.2

 

 

The distinctive Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, Queens, that faces the East River and Manhattan, is now an official New York City landmark. Its bright red swirly lettering has long been a welcoming beacon on the waterfront. Crowning Pepsi’s bottling plant at this site in 1940, its reconstruction in 1993 was faithful to the original sign. The 50-foot painted Pepsi bottle was probably replaced in the 1970s with an updated bottle design. Serving as a longstanding and well-known branding symbol, this sure is a testament to the power of a great marketing imprint.

 

READY FOR LIFT-OFF

MetChandelier.aug2016

 

 

Another should be New York City landmark are the Metropolitan Opera’s spacey chandeliers. Who doesn’t ooh and aah as the world-famous show before the show starring 12 radiant starbursts begin their ascendency as the lights fade? A gift made by the Austrian government to thank the US for its help after WWII, it was a shining symbol of the friendship between Austria and the US. Fondly named sputniks, their design was inspired by the post-war era’s International Space Race and the Big Bang. And now they have been mechanically overhauled, outdated equipment for raising and lowering them updated. Let the oohing and aahing begin!

 

YOU MAY SAY HE’S A DREAMER

JohnLennonVsUSABook.aug2016

 

 

“Let’s see, I think it was Jack Lemmon and Yoko Moto,” said Leon Wildes when asked the names of his new clients. With immigration and deportation hot-button issues in this election year, how timely and informative this new book is about John Lennon’s four-year battle to stay in the US. Wildes was John and Yoko’s lawyer, an expert on immigration law. Insights abound. We see that the debate about discretionary targeting of political protestors was as relevant then as it is now. Richard Nixon may have wanted John banished but, as Wildes states, “Thanks to [Lennon’s] willingness to fight, we managed to discover and helped create a remedy for impossible cases.” Funny how John’s 1972 deportation case with its societal significance and legal impact, is as essential a lasting legacy as is the extraordinary music he left us.

 

…AND SPEAKING OF JOHN’S MUSIC

BeatBugs.aug2016

 

 

Netflix’s new animated series, Beat Bugs, tells stories through Beatles songs, teaching kids life lessons while turning them on to great music! About a quintet of kid characters and their insect friends, Eddie Vedder performs as Jasper, a grasshopper who takes the insects on a Magical Mystery Tour. Pink sings Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as Lucy the dragonfly, and yes, she has kaleidoscope eyes. James Corden sings I’m A Loser and Sia covers Blackbird. All You Need is Love is the theme song. Animated bugs singing Beatles songs? I’m taking that Ticket to Ride!

 

RIP, MENTSCH

StevenHill.aug2016

 

 

Law & Order is just a fact of life. It permeates countless homes. Who doesn’t love feeling the palliative power of watching L&O reruns over and over again? Switching channels, we are compelled to stop when there’s an episode airing. We know the words, we know whodunnit, we know the wisecracks. Especially those pithy gems spoken by Manhattan DA Adam Schiff, Steven Hill’s character. Hill even studied the law to make his character more convincing. Born Solomon Krakovsky to Russian Jewish immigrants, he passed away August 23. A devoted Orthodox Jew, he did not work on Shabbos, which was written into all his contracts. And when Hill resigned after a decade on L&O, in the show Adam Schiff resigned to work with a Holocaust organization. Oh, and he played the rabbi in Yentl. I admired him. A great actor who stayed true to his faith, Steven Hill had a deep sense of his own purpose and a heartfelt compassion which he exuded in every one of his roles. “Take the deal.”

 

I LOVE MY DOG

CatStevens.ILoveMyDog

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.

All he asks from me is the food to give him strength
All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get.

All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes
I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that.

 

It is the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ first hit single release, I Love My Dog in 1966. That was followed by The First Cut Is The Deepest, Wild World, Hard Headed Woman, Where Do the Children Play?, Father & Son, Morning Has Broken, Peace Train, and Moonshadow. Did you forget he wrote all those great songs? He’s on tour to celebrate his 50th anniversary as an artist – even playing New York City for the first time since 1976! Through his charity, Small Kindness, a portion of every ticket goes to UNICEF and International Rescue Committee to help children affected by the current refugee crisis. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, his most recent albums (2006’s An Other Cup is excellent!) are as notable as his early ones we cherish.

 

I LOVE MY RESCUE DOG

RescueDog.aug2016

So there’s this cartoon about the wonders of rescuing a dog. If you’ve ever adopted a dog, you will relate to comic artist Bird Born’s simple yet right-on telling of how he welcomed home his new friend. Remember, we never know where they are from, what kind of damage has been inflicted on them, nor are we ever assured that they’ll forget their history. But, we can shower them with loads and loads of love, make them feel safe, and show them the world will be a better place for them. Born’s experience in We’ve Taken A Dog From An Animal Shelter is a mirror of our experience, too. It’s the story of fear turning into owning the couch, the bed, the easy chair, well, you know the rest.

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA-LAFlood.aug2016

 

 

The ASPCA has dispatched its Disaster Response Team to Louisiana to conduct water rescues for animals displaced by the area’s devastating floods resulting from three days of torrential rain. Donations will help the ASPCA “give people peace of mind while they cope with this crisis by making sure their pets are safe.”

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.JoshuaTree.aug2016.cr

U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

 

One can relate to this gospel-influenced anthem from U2, especially heading into fall’s new beginnings. This is critic Jeff Jensen’s description: “[It] is my bridge over troubled water, a psalm of reorientation in times of disorientation. It embraces hopeful paradoxes: that doubt and faith are compatible, that certainty doesn’t preclude a constant search for truth … a bittersweet hymn that calls me to look up when I’m down and keep clear-eyed when I’m fogged.”

 

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you.

I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you.

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

 

 

 

Who rescued whom?

Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Bruce quote: Bruce Springsteen official website brucespringsteen.net
Robert Plant trial pic: Mona Shafer Edwards
Robert Plant quote: Rolling Stone, August 16, 2016
Tchaikovsky quote: Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky by Modeste Tchaikovsky (University Press of the Pacific 2004)
Jack White quote: from the documentary, Under Great White Northern Lights
Leon Wildes quotes: John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History (American Bar Association, August 2016)
Beat Bugs pic: Netflix
I Love My Dog lyrics: Cat Stevens ©Universal Music Publishing Group
Soundtrack quote: Jeff Jensen/Entertainment Weekly August 12, 2016
U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For lyrics: Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen, Paul David Hewson, Victor Reina ©Universal Music Publishing Group

 

April Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

27 Apr

SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN APRIL

Prince.Apri2016.snowinapril

Sing along to Prince:

 Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last

APRIL’S SCOTTISH REIGN

Parade.StephenPDriscollMemorialPipeBand.NYCTartanWeekFB.cr

And it was in the relentless rain, those unavoidable April showers, that the great Scots were celebrated in the New York Tartan Day Parade.

PURPLE REIGN: LONG LIVE PRINCE

Prince.Apri2016

Doves cry now, so do we. How sad it is to lose this magical artist too soon. With huge limitless talent, he could do it all. And all of it he did to perfection … “When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to,” said Prince at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 … “Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet)

SEX, LIES, AND MOVIES

Book.DirtyWordsAndFilthyPictures.Apr2016

Freedom of expression. It’s the entitlement of a true artist. And it is what the First Amendment guarantees, meaning the government does not have the right to forbid us from saying and writing what we like. But in the movies, that wasn’t always so. Did you wonder why married couples were in two beds instead of sharing one? That is because during Hollywood’s Golden Age film censors, charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities, were the arbiters of what we could see … In his new book, Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment (University of Texas Press), Jeremy Geltzer explores cinema censorship, the movies that changed the law resulting in greater creative freedom for all, and how modern versions of censorship are shaping what we see today … Well-suited for this subject, Geltzer is an entertainment attorney for major studios (Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney), producer (Turner Classic Movies), and teacher of film history.

APRIL CELEBRATES POETRY

Foley.Apr2016

In the movie biz, it’s the Foley artist who enhances the film with sound effects such as a thunderous night or a procession of clip-clopping horses … In her poem Foley (from The Oldest Map with the Name America, 1999), Lucia Perillo tackles the music lover’s age-old conundrum:

“In certain sixties pop songs that had the singer keening
antonyms: how can something so right feel so wrong,
so good hurt so bad…you know what I’m talking about.
And don’t you think it’s peculiar:
in the first half of the sixties they made the black girl-groups
sing with white accents and in the second half of the sixties
they made the white girl-groups sing with black accents,
which proves that what you hear is always
some strange alchemy of what somebody thinks you’ll pay for
and what you expect.”

ACTORS AS MUSICIANS

EthanHawke.born-to-be-blue.Apr2016

Ethan Hawke stars in Born to Be Blue, a re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late 60s. This is what Hawke says about why actors like to portray musicians:

“One thing about studying Shakespeare as an actor is that you start to hear the music in language. Shakespeare and the best rappers have a lot in common. There’s a musicality to language. Music is just about as powerful a unifying force as we have. It’s without language, it’s without race, it’s without so much … It’s because we want to be a little closer to the music.”

SHAKESPEARE’S APRIL

Shakespeare.Apr2016.1

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616. And it is April that is mentioned in his works more than any other month.

“April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
(Sonnet 98)

“O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.”
(Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, Scene 3)

SHAKESPEARE, A NOBLER ACTION HERO

Shakespeare_action_figure.Apr2016

Need inspiration? Get yourself this Shakespeare action doll. Wordsmith as action figure, you ask? Why not? Known for his sharp tongue and withering wit, William Shakespeare wrote many a drama with loads of action. “To take arms against a sea of troubles,” his heroes believe in truth, faith, and loyalty, same as today’s action heroes. And he is wearing spandex. You just have to make up your own quips and obscure Elizabethan-era references. You know you’ll feel smarter and maybe he’ll even inspire you!

SCOTLAND’S NEW TARTAN: LOCH CHAIM!

Tartan.Jewish.Apri2016

The first kosher Jewish Tartan is here … Tartans have represented different clans in Scotland for over 200 years, now Jews have their own. This new Jewish Tartan design reflects both Jewish values and Scottish history. It features blue and white – colors of both the Israel and Scotland flags – with a central gold line representing the gold from the Ark, a silver line representing the silver that adorns the Torah, and red for the red Kiddush wine … A splendid symbol of Jewish and Scottish culture, order your Tartan tallit and kilt now!

DOG NEWS: SCOTS HONOR THEIR OWN!

TartanBagpiper+Barkley.IMG_0565.cr.Apr2016

The New York Tartan Day Parade featured the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack of Westies and Scotties. Sure, Outlander’s Sam Heughan was the Grand Marshall who led the marchers up Avenue of the Americas, but it was these distinguished Scottish dogs that brought roaring cheers from the bystanders. Yes, that’s my Barkley getting his marching orders from a Bagpiper as they get set to join the Parade.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.GrammyFoundation.Apr2016

In honor of Prince, please consider a donation to the GRAMMY Foundation which provides national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich culture and musical heritage.

Soundtrack to this Issue

 Soundtrack.DonovanBeatles.Apr2016

Donovan’s Mellow Yellow

Great Scot! Born in Glasgow, Scotland and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Donovan’s hits include Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, and Sunshine Superman. But who doesn’t hold fond memories of flower power and Mellow Yellow?

He traveled to India with the Beatles to study Transcendental Meditation in February 1968. That’s Donovan in all his very mellow yellow glory in the middle. (Left to right: Pattie Harrison, John Lennon, Mike Love, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, George Harrison, Mia Farrow, Donovan, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, and Cynthia Lennon.)

Donovan: “The Beatles discovered meditation and were searching for something different. Well, they certainly got something different from Donovan. A guitar style and a set of chords that opened up an enormous amount of new ways of doing things. And that’s what we musicians do, we pass on styles from one to another.”

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I’m just mad about Saffron
Saffron’s mad about me
I’m just mad about Saffron
She’s just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow.

Who rescued whom?Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Prince pic: Rolling Stone
Sometimes It Snows In April lyrics: Prince, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Ethan Hawke pic: IFC Films
Ethan Hawke quote: Entertainment Weekly, April 1/8, 2016
Shakespeare pic: Chicago Stage Review
Soundtrack pic: Beatles Book Monthly No. 143
Mellow Yellow lyrics: Donovan Leitch ©Peermusic Publishing

March Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Mar

MARCH SPRINGS AHEAD

PeterMax.SnowyDay.Mar2016.CParkReservoirBridge

Peter Max’s Snowy Day to remind us of winter’s passing, with memories of the cold white covered ground and the promise of the sun’s radiant warmth to come.

#JeSuisBruxelles

Belgium.TinTin.MonDieu

Belgium’s iconic and beloved cartoon characters, Tintin the world traveling cub reporter and his dog Snowy, became the national symbol of mourning and solidarity following the deadly terror attacks in Brussels on March 23 … The Adventures of Tintin was written by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé … Throughout their dangerous escapades, Tintin and Snowy always and heroically save the day. But not today.

THE FIFTH BEATLE

GeorgeMartin.engineering1964.Mar2016

“If anyone earned the title Fifth Beatle, it was George,” said Paul McCartney upon George Martin’s passing on March 9. Classically trained musician, composer, producer, and engineer, Martin helped The Beatles develop their sound. He signed them in 1962 and produced most of their music. Here he is at Abbey Road Studios – look at that board and the tape players in the early 60s!

George Martin on The Beatles: “I think they’re so damn good they’ll be with us for generations … they’re just great musicians and great writers, like Gershwin or Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are there in history, and The Beatles are there in history, too. They’ll be there in 100 years, too. But I won’t be.” … You will be, George. You already are.

THE WHO HONORS BOWIE

Who.Mar2016

The Who paid tribute to David Bowie before their concert at Madison Square Garden. A large screen projected a message from the band to Bowie:

David Bowie. Friend of The Who. Son of New York. Tonight we will distinctly miss David Bowie, longtime fan of The Who. He’s told the story of how he climbed the fence at London’s Roundhouse to sneak backstage and give Pete Townshend a copy of his new 1969 album, David Bowie. He covered ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ on his Pin Ups album. Nearly every year at MSG, he sat in the first row right beside the stage. We’ll miss our friend, a true icon of music and art, and a brilliant innovator.” … Classy.

GET INSPIRED

AgnesMartin.painting.Mar2016

Artist Agnes Martin (1912-2004) said her paintings were “meditations on innocence, beauty, happiness, and love,” and creative work comes from inspiration, “the beginning and end of all art work.” Using a narrow palette, lines and grids drift over faint background colors.

“An inspiration is a happy moment that takes us by surprise. Many people are so startled by an inspiration that they think that they are unique in having had it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Inspiration is there all the time for anyone whose mind is not covered over with thoughts and concerns, and [it is] used by everyone whether they realize it or not … It is an untroubled state of mind, [one that] cannot last, so we say that inspiration comes and goes, but it is there all the time waiting for us to be untroubled again. We can therefore say that it is pervasive.”

NINA SIMONE

NinaSimone.Mar2016

“How can you be an artist
and not reflect the times?”

Nina Simone was a classical music prodigy, a singer and songwriter who combined jazz, pop, R&B, gospel, and folk, and an outspoken civil rights activist. An artist of her times.

MUSIC FUNNY

MahlerSmahler.Mar2016

Here’s a little classical music humor to help celebrate the LA Philharmonic’s Mahler concert at Lincoln Center. Hee-hee.

“A symphony must be like the world. It must
embrace everything.” (Gustav Mahler)

WESTIE NEWS!!! THE BESTIE NEWS!!!

DogNews.CruftsBestInShowWestie

Best news!!! Best in Show news, that is. Devon, this gorgeous two-year old Westie Champion Geordie Girl, won the 2016 Crufts Best in Show! She’s the third Westie to win Best in Show at Crufts in 125 years. Are you listening, Westminster? Isn’t it time for the Westie to win for the third time here, too?

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.AMC.GSD.Mar2016.cr

The Cancer Institute at the Animal Medical Center provides integrative and comprehensive care for animals diagnosed with cancer, focusing on early detection and working to find a cure through advanced research. A hospital for companion animals, AMC is also an institute for veterinary education and research. Donate to help continue their mission of providing high quality care and research for animals with cancer.

Soundtrack to this Issue
 Soundtrack.Yesterday.Single.Mar2016
 The Beatles’ Yesterday

It was George Martin’s idea of putting a string quartet on the record, giving this incredible song its indelible and perfectly simple understated sound! … Listen to Paul McCartney perform this live at Anfield, Liverpool on June 1, 2008.

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday. 

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly. 

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Who rescued whom?Barkley.WeCanHelp.Dec2015So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Tintin and Snowy pic: @Vladdo/Twitter
George Martin pic: BBC/Rex Features
The Who pic: Theo Wargo/Getty
The Who quote: Rolling Stone Magazine, March 4, 2016
Agnes Martin painting: Untitled 1998
Agnes Martin quotes: Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances (Phaidon Press), edited by Arne Glimcher
Mahler pics: Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts
Westie Devon pic: Crufts
German Shepherd Dog pic: Animal Medical Center
Yesterday lyrics: Lennon-McCartney, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

February Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Feb

FEBRUARY FULL OF LOVE

ASPCA.ValentinesEcard.cr-use

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

Beatles.Love.vbb55

“All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”

A SHINING STAR SHINES FOREVER

MauriceWhite.RobVerhorst-Redferns.Feb2016

Maurice White didn’t focus on one musical genre, he mixed it all up in his band, Earth, Wind and Fire – rock, pop, funk, gospel, soul, R&B, jazz, Latin, Caribbean steel drums, and classical … Just honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys, EWF’s music “naturally appealed across racial and socio-economic lines.” … He was a unique visionary who delivered exuberant, funky music with a mighty message of peace and unity. Inspired by the times of the 70’s, his music and message are even more relevant today.

“Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group. Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere. All of our songs had that positive energy. To create uplifting music was the objective.” (Maurice White)

YO-YO MA

YoyoMa.Feb2016.cr-USE
A child prodigy, Yo-Yo Ma has been performing since he was five … “I started the violin when I was three. I screeched away and sounded horrible, so I gave it up…I saw this double bass and I said, ‘I want to play that.’…The cello was a compromise. So my parents said, ‘You have to promise that you’re not going to switch again.’ So I kept my promise and I’m still playing the cello.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

MetLogo.old.feb2016MetLogo.new.feb2016
Based on a woodcut in its collection by Luca Pacioli (Leonardo da Vinci’s colleague), the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “M” logo (top) has been iconic for 45 years – suggesting the museum’s great hall with its three square chambers topped by circular vaults or the proportional geometries of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. Whichever, it has been hailed a classic, conveying what it represents – art, history, and architecture … So what do you think of the new logo (bottom)? Does it look like “a typographic double-decker bus crash” (New York Magazine)? Or Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture? Is it clean and modern? Is the red too bold? Does it say: museum? And the two words – did you think it referred to the opera house, also called The Met? Changing a company’s logo generates buzz, even controversy. Will this new logo unify this massive institution’s identity and connect its past to the future, as it is designed to do? Will it endure? Time will tell.

DOG NEWS

Westminster.TimothyA.Clary.AFP.GettyImages.Feb2016

No, the adorable, stubborn, spirited, intelligent, and brave Westie did not win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s Best in Show. That honor went to the German Shorthaired Pointer named CJ. Rumor the German Shepherd, Charlie the Skye Terrier, and Bogey the Samoyed came close. Judge Richard Meen explained, “It’s very important that every dog take me back to what they were bred to do. Pointer CJ never stopped looking, focused in front of him, and he floated around the ring.” … New breeds welcomed in this year included the Bergamasco, Boerboel, Berger Picard, Mini American Shepherd, Spanish Water Dog, and the Lagotto Romagnolo.

DogNews.DavidFrei

Faithful companion. Could be said of dogs, sure, but must also be said of their human ambassador, David Frei. This was the last time he hosted Westminster. But we will still hear his knowledgeable and warmhearted commentary at the National Dog Show … Here he is with Gracie (left) and Angel, for whom his Angel On A Leash organization is named. A human who is synonymous with the love of dogs.

WE CAN HELP

DOgNews.WestminsterPOster.Feb2016

This year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show poster is a 19th century painting by J.M. Tracy, Haunt of the Woodcock: Sensation and Bang Bang. It depicts the Pointer, Westminster Kennel Club’s symbol since 1877 The recipient for the poster sales proceeds is the Warrior Canine Connection. Using Canine Connection Therapy, they help Wounded Warriors learn how to train service dogs for their fellow veterans. By interacting with the dogs from puppyhood to training to adult service dogs, Warrior Trainers benefit from the interaction with the dogs and the veterans with disabilities receive the finest in trained service dogs … By purchasing this poster, we can help bring the healing power of dogs to these heroes.

Soundtrack to this IssueSoundtrack.DowntonAbbey.Feb2016Philip Glass’s Escape! (The Hours OST)

We hear the familiar stirring theme music begin each episode and we know what’s in store. In celebration of Downton Abbey, here’s [hear] something interesting: Downton Abbey’s theme composer, John Lunn, admits he “started out with elements of Philip Glass and I did listen to a lot of English, early 20th century music … But the underlying harmony is actually very simple and perhaps almost a bit like pop music.” … Take a listen to Philip Glass’s Escape from Stephen Daldry’s film, The Hours. Both themes share a similar mood – evocative, moving, and hypnotic.

Who rescued whom?Barkley.WeCanHelp.Dec2015So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
All You Need Is Love lyrics: John Lennon and Paul McCartney ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Maurice White pic: February 1982, Rob Verhorst, Redferns
Producer Wayne Edwards quote: Roger Thompson, NY Times, February 12, 2016
Maurice White quote: Songwriter Universe, March 28, 2007
Yo-Yo Ma child pic: Adelaide de Menil, New York Magazine, January 12, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma quote: New York Magazine, January 12, 2016
Met logos: Metropolitan Museum of Art
West Highland White Terriers at Westminster pic: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Judge Meen quote: NY Times, February 17, 2016
David Frei pic: Ben Walker/AP
Downton Abbey pic: PBS
John Lunn quote: Hollywood Reporter, September 4, 2012

August Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

27 Aug

AUGUST’S RAP-UP

StraightOuttaCompton.August2015

“Whether it was money, gangbanging, crack, LAPD and eventually AIDS — everything in the world came down on this group. What did we combat all that with? We had music. We had lyrics. We had hip-hop.” (Ice Cube)

You’d think the film Straight Outta Compton was based on today’s headlines. But it started in the 1980’s when five friends in Compton, CA, a city in south-central L.A. with drugs, crime, street gangs, and a high murder rate, formed a group and told their story. This biopic about the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A. (original members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are producers) beat all expectations, debuting at #1 … Their debut album of the same name marked the beginning of gangsta rap, hitting at real-life issues – racial profiling and police brutality. Rolling Stone cited the album as one of hip-hop’s most crucial albums, calling it a “bombastic, cacophonous car ride through Los Angeles’ burnt-out and ignored hoods.”  … With funky, bass-driven beats and explicit controversial lyrics, they left a lasting legacy on hip-hop music. The stories they were telling in the album were relevant then and resonate still – in this new film as well as in tonight’s evening news.

Hamilton.August2015.plain

And hip-hop made it to Broadway, too. Hamilton, opening to record-breaking advance sales, is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Real history with a real hip-hop score. Sure, it’s about the birth of our nation. But its world of politics with rivalries, self-interest, integrity, even a sex scandal, mirrors our own state of the union, centuries later. Another example of hip-hop storytelling that’s historically significant yet pertinent today.

THE BEATLES PLAY NEW YORK!

Did you have one of these?BeatlesShea.August2015.ticket

BeatlesShea.August2015August 15 marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium. In front of 55,000 screaming fans, the largest crowd in music history at the time, they were introduced by Ed Sullivan: “…honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America, here are the Beatles.” Then they ran on stage to open the concert with Twist and Shout.

HAVING SURGERY? BRING FLOYD!DarkSideOfMoon.August2015

A good song makes us feel better, right? According to new research, patients who listened to music were less anxious after surgery and needed less pain relief. In fact the lead author, Dr. Catherine Meads, said Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon helped soothe her pain after hip surgery … Dr. Hazim Sadideen from University Hospitals Birmingham also researched the role of music, “Undertaking both minor and major surgery can induce stress. Music can be used…to improve the patient journey…” … So doctor, what do the tests show? Listening to music before, during, and after an operation can help reduce pain. That’s a relief … And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear, You shout and no one seems to hear, And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

BABY WE WERE BORN TO RUNBornToRun.ColumbiaRecordsAd.1975

“The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves, like a vision she dances across the porch, as the radio plays…” … So starts Born To Run, August 25 marking 40 years it hit record stores. This is the original Columbia Records ad. Special place in my heart, my record company (CBS Records) and recording studio (Record Plant) alma maters. One happy tramp.

DOG NEWSStraightOuttaCompton.Westieland.8.9.15

Turns out, August 15 is an auspicious date. It also marked Clear the Shelters day. About 7.6 million animals enter shelters across the country each year, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, according to the ASPCA. Waiving most or all adoption fees, 400 animal shelters nationwide took part in the one-day event. An initiative by NBC-TV stations to help get cats and dogs waiting for new homes successfully adopted, the result? Over 19,000 adoptions and still counting! Westie Rescue Barkley straight out approves.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.USWarDogs.August2015Let’s show our love and appreciation for the military working dogs, who are highly trained to work side by side with their handlers in war zones as trackers or sentries, in search and rescue, and explosive detection. The U.S. War Dog Association has been sending care packages to military dogs all over the world, all year round, since 2003. You can send specific items needed by the dogs, such as cooling vests and mats, nail clippers, brushes, combs, Kongs and other heavy duty chew toys, doggles, collapsible nylon dog water bowls, and dog shampoo and treats (made in the USA only). Or you may make a financial contribution.

 

Soundtrack to this IssueSoundtrack.NWA.August2015

NWA’s Express Yourself
From Straight Outta Compton (Priority/Ruthless 1988)

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities,
And now I’m livin’ in correctional facilities,
Cause some don’t agree with how I do this.

I get straight, meditate like a Buddhist,
I’m droppin’ flava, my behavior is hereditary,
But my technique is very necessary.

Blame it on Ice Cube…
Because he says it gets funky
When you got a subject and a predicate.
Add it on a dope beat
And that’ll make you think.

Express yourself…
Express yourself…
Come on and do it…

 

Who rescued whom????????????????????????????????

So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Ice Cube quote: LA Times, Lorraine Ali, July 30, 2015
Straight Outta Compton album review: Jon Caramanica, Rolling Stone, September 30, 2002
Beatles at Shea pic: Copyright holder unknown. (Beatles Rarities)
Music and surgery quotes: Brunel University and Queen Mary University of London music during surgery study
Brain Damage lyrics: Roger Waters ©Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd., TRO-Hampshire House Publishing (Dark Side of the Moon, EMI 1973)
Born To Run ad: Sony Legacy Records
Thunder Road lyrics: Bruce Springsteen ©1975 Laurel Canyon Music Ltd.
Adoption results: Clear The Shelters
We Can Help pic: The U.S. War Dog Association, Inc.
Express Yourself lyrics: O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Charles W. Wright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

December Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

24 Dec

LOVE + HAPPINESS = DECEMBER

BEST WISHES FOR HAPPY HOLIDAYS
AND A GRAND NEW YEAR
FILLED WITH JOY + PEACE + LOVE!

Who better signifies the spirit of the season? The great, wonderful, forever super soulful Reverend Al 37th Annual Kennedy Center HonorsGreen receives this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, for those who have made significant contributions to the American arts and culture. Born to sharecroppers in Arkansas, he has sold more than 20 million albums and won 11 Grammys. “I got to meet country and western people, I’ve got to meet gospel people, I’ve got to meet hillbilly people, I’ve got to meet just down-to-earth regular American Midwest people — and all of them have had an effect on me.” Wearing the Kennedy Center honors medal and with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra band backing him, Al Green performed Tired of Being Alone and Let’s Stay Together on the Late Show with David Letterman …  Nick (What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding) Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue at the Bowery Ballroom … Hip Hop Nutcracker featuring my pal, M.C. Kurtis Blow … The NY Philharmonic’s glorious Handel’s Messiah and The Night Before Christmas with Whoopi Goldberg … Then Dianne Reeves welcomes in the new year with the NY Phil’s all-Gershwin celebration … “Oh! ‘S wonderful! ‘S marvelous! That you should care for me!” … And here’s to everything wonderful and marvelous for you in the New Year!

HOLIDAY CHEER = DARLENE LOVE!

And who better deliversDarleneLove.christmasbaby.LateShow.Dec2014 the music of the season? The one and only Darlene Love performed her always anticipated annual rendition of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) for the final time on the Late Show with David Letterman. Did she blow away the crowd? Oh yeah! … After 28 years with Letterman, what’s next? “I think we should get together once a year and do a huge Christmas show. A Paul Shaffer-Darlene Love Christmas show somewhere in New York. I’m sure it would sell out.” Count us in!

R.I.P. JOE COCKER

And what better sentiment at the holiday season than the one that touches us all? The great rock/soul voice of JoeCocker.died.12.22.14Joe Cocker thankfully lives on forever – and never more so than on the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends “What would you think if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and walk out on me?, Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, And I’ll try not to sing out of key, Oh I get by with a little help from my friends, Mm going to try with a little help from my friends” … At this time of year, we especially need and appreciate the warmth, kindness, and affection that friendship brings in our lives.

WE CAN HELP
???????????????????????????????Barkley hopes you get a lot of toys this holiday … Westie Rescue of New England sent me this beautiful bundle of happiness … All volunteers, they are dedicated to saving, fostering, and placing West Highland White Terriers into new loving forever homes. Your donation helps them continue their mission, one that is close to my heart … When our Westies smile, the world seems a little lighter.

AlGreen.lets-stay-together.Dec2014

Soundtrack to this Issue is
Al Green’s
Let’s Stay Together

C’mon, sing along:
Let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad.

 

Who rescued whom?
Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

Sources:
Al Green pic: Kris Connor/Getty Images
Al Green quote: Associated Press
‘S Wonderful: written by Ira and George Gershwin, ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Darlene Love pic: Late Show with David Letterman
Darlene Love quote: Billboard
With a Little Help from My Friends lyrics: written by Lennon/McCartney, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Let’s Stay Together lyrics: ©Buddabear Publishing, Emi Foray Music, Irving Music Inc., Al Jackson Jr Music, Al Green Music Inc., Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Burlington Music Co. Ltd., Jec Publishing Corp.

November Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

29 Nov

VALOR + HONOR = SPIRIT OF NOVEMBER

Stevie Wonder honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom … Speaking of, he played his 1976US-POLITICS-MEDAL OF FREEDOM-STEVIE WONDER album Songs in the Key of Life from start to finish at Madison Square Garden … Billy Joel is the sixth recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Who also got this? Stevie Wonder … The Concert for Valor on Veteran’s Day in D.C. featured Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, and Metallica honoring our troops …Speaking of, Bruce releases new box set Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1, 1973-1984, includes re-mastered editions of his first seven studio albums, recreations of original artwork and a book of rare memorabilia … American Arts Trust launched the American Veterans Art Wall, a virtual wall where U.S. veterans can submit their own creative expressions … Queen Forever features three previously unreleased tracks with Freddie Mercury on vocals, including a collaboration with Michael Jackson … Joni Mitchell’s Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced FenderStrat.Nov2014contains 53 re-mastered songs spanning her career. “I am a painter who writes songs. My songs are very visual. The words create scenes.” … In her latest album, It’s The Girls, Bette Midler plays the music of girl groups like Be My Baby, One Fine Day, and You Can’t Hurry Love. Hurry and get it … Arlo Bloodhound.Nov2014Guthrie’s annual Thanksgiving concert at Carnegie Hall … Bob Marley tribute concert at the Apollo celebrates the 35th anniversary of his debut there … Guitars and good deeds: Fender Music Foundation benefit concerts provide instruments for classrooms and music therapy programs, City Winery hosts Guitar Mash, 350+ pros and amateurs perform together, raising money for music education concerts, and Wall Street Rocks concerts benefit ReserveAid, supporting reservists and National Guard members deployed abroad … Winner of the National Dog Show is Nathan the Bloodhound. “He kisses everybody he meets and doesn’t know a stranger – he makes me smile every day.”

MUSIC ON FILM

Dead.Nov2014Great directors on great musicians: Martin Scorsese is producing a documentary on the Grateful Dead in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary. “The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved.” … Ron Howard to direct a feature documentary on The Beatles, focusing on the period from 1960 to 1966. “These guys looked and sounded different, and were absolutely explosive to watch. The girls were screaming. It was this flash of genius and uniqueness, but they were also relate-able.” … In the Mick Jagger-produced Alex Gibney doc, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown about the Godfather of Soul’s life, career, and musical legacy, Jagger says he “tried to steal everything [from Brown] I could possibly do.”

WE CAN HELP

Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr

“Here comes the sun…” So grateful for Barkley coming into my life. Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England. Who rescued whom?

NatlSearchDog.Oct2014National Disaster Search Dog Foundation raising money to build a permanent national training center for search dogs on 125 acres in California … PACT for Animals provides temporary, free, in-home foster care for the pets of deployed military personnel and hospital patients and their families … Pilots N Paws is a meeting place for those who rescue, shelter or foster animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of animals.

StevieWonder.soundtracksunshine.Nov2014

Soundtrack to this Issue is
You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
(Stevie Wonder performing at The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House,
celebrating Black History Month, February 24, 2011.)

C’mon, sing along:
You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye,
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Stevie Wonder pic: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Bloodhound pic: AKC
Bloodhound quote: The Baltimore Sun
Grateful Dead pic: stereogum.com
Martin Scorsese quote: relix.com
Ron Howard quote: deadline.com
Search dog pic: Search Dog Foundation
You Are the Sunshine of My Life lyrics: Stevie Wonder, writer/©Black-bull-music Inc., Jobete Music Co. Inc.

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